As the world slowly shifts towards a more sustainable future, adopting electrification along the way, it is only a matter of time before race cars mirror this arrangement.
After all, Formula E is amongst the earliest pioneers to adopt electricity as its propulsion source and now Porsche has dropped a preview with its fully-electric Porsche Cayman GT4 e-Performance.
Porsche held a preview session in the picturesque town of Franciacorta with their electrified models and the Cayman GT4 e-Performance is just the icing on the cake.
According to Porsche, the Cayman GT4 e-Performance gets its electric powertrain from the Mission R concept car, developing 612 PS (450 kW) in simulated racing mode, up to an eye-watering and rib-crushing 1,088 PS (800 kW) in qualifying mode. The best part? The driver can toggle the Cayman GT4 e-Performance’s output levels with the toggle of a button.
Although we were not allowed to get behind the wheel of this over-the-top race car, we were in the safe hands of Klaus Bachler, Porsche’s factory driver that has completed a number of 24-hour races over the past few years. That’s definitely reassuring.
Now, seeing the Cayman GT4 e-Performance utilizes a 900 Volt electrical system for charging, and Porsche isn’t taking any chances with electrical shocks. So much so that they said, in the event of an emergency, you will need to exit the Cayman by perching on the door sill and leaping out furthest possible, without touching any parts of the car.
If you are unfortunate enough to be touching any parts of the Cayman during an emergency, you’re in for a literal shock, and quite likely ending up permanently scarred, or burnt to a crisp.
Well, with that out of the way and myself fully dressed up in a racing suit and HANS device, it’s time to strap in.
Over the past couple of years in this line of job, I’ve had my fair shares of pretty quick cars, but none could possibly come close to sheer brutal acceleration of the Cayman GT4 e-Performance.
Never mind my potentially crushed ribs, the brutal acceleration also gave me some lightheadedness that no other car could manage. And that was just with 612 PS on tap.
As Klaus shifted into qualifying mode, unleashing the full 1,088 PS of electrical madness, it truly redefined what I thought was humanely quick.
With Klaus at the wheel, the Cayman GT4 e-Performance rocketed to a blistering 250 km/h by the end of the 519-meter back straight, before braking hard for T1.
But this level of performance wouldn’t be exploitable if it wasn’t for the tyres, and the Cayman GT4 e-Performance features bespoke rubbers from Michelin, measuring 18 inches. These tyres definitely aids this electric race car, helping it corner like its on rails.
And unlike a whisper-quiet, road-going EV, the Cayman GT4 e-Performance is actually loud. Never mind the lack of any sound-proof material, much of the Cayman GT4 e-Performance’s noise comes from its two permanently excited synchronous motors, one on each axle.
To keep temperatures of the motors in check, Porsche developed an oil direct cooling system. Said cooling system also helps to cool the 80-kWh battery packs. This battery is also sufficient for it
Speaking of battery packs, the Cayman GT4 e-Performance features not one, but two battery packs, one on the front and one towards the rear, in an effort to keep weight balance as neutral as possible. It takes just 15 minutes to charge the Cayman GT4 e-Performance from a 5 percent state-of-charge (SoC) to 80 percent. While waiting, you can also check out the cool charging graphics nestled within its full-width LED tail lights that replaces the regular Cayman’s units.
Porsche also added that, with some tuning to the gearset, the Cayman GT4 e-Performance can lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in less than 6:45 minutes. For context, Porsche’s current road-going EV, the Porsche Taycan, managed to lap the Green Hell in 7:33 minutes.
“The GT4 e-Performance is setting the course for Porsche customer sport with electrically powered racing cars. In the first step we are presenting this concept to our partners around the world,” says Oliver Schwab, Project Manager Sales for the GT4 e-Performance. “Working together with drivers, teams, event organisers, authorities and other interested parties, we will be gathering ideas for possible future racing formats from Porsche.”
And if the future of Porsche’s racing cars is anything like this Cayman GT4 e-Performance, who said sustainability cannot be fun at the same time?